Sunday, January 05, 2014

Things I learned lately 5 January

  • Despite all the world's anti-piracy efforts, Pirate Bay's uploads saw a 50% increase in 2013.
  • The National Science Foundation released a rigorous study on the use of trademark, copyright, and patents in American business. It concluded that, overall, most businesses don't rate these protections as a significant factor in their success. 87% said trademarks were "not important"; 90% said the same of copyright, and 96% said the same of patents.
  • The new UK Firewall will have all British ISPs defaulting their customers to an "adult content filter". This means that you have to call your ISP and opt out of being filtered, otherwise all sites on the blacklist will be off-limits. Included in O2's blocklist are such hotbeds of hardcore porn as Slashdot, EFF, Linux Today, Blogspot, No Starch Press, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and Boing Boing.
  • The average teacher's annual salary in Switzerland in 2012 was $112,000.
  • Viagra is the sanskrit word (vyaghra) for 'tiger'.
  • Google's secretive X labs are working on a project that would float internet access transceivers in the form of high altitude (20 km up) balloons. This idea is already being tested in New Zealand. These balloons would ride the prevailing winds and be solar-powered. The geek in me is hoping that Google names this 'Skynet'. But alas, they have named it Project Loon. 
  • The song 'These Dreams', performed by Heart, was written by Martin Page and Bernie Taupin, not the Wilson sisters. It was intended for Stevie Nicks, but she passed it up. It's also the first song sung by Nancy Wilson instead of Ann.
  • Oreo is reportedly testing a watermelon flavoured Oreo cookie.
  • A mid-town Manhattan parking spot can cost $6744/year.
  • The residents of Inglewood Drive in Toronto have (collectively) 29 giant inflatable Santas in front of their homes during the holidays.
  • The chemical element hafnium is named after Copenhagen, whose Latin name is Hafnia.
  • Copenhagen aims to be carbon-neutral by 2025. 75% of trips will be made by transit, by bike or on foot (not difficult considering the current situation). 20-30% of cars will be electric or bio fuel. 90% of this will be funded privately.
  • Copenhagen has the two oldest amusement parks in the world, Dyrehavsbakken and Tivoli Gardens.

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